Morning Roundup: May 17

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THE D.C. COUNCIL IS SET to vote today on whether to have a court enforce subpoenas for three witnesses in its probe of Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s hiring practices. A council committee is investigating accusations of nepotism and cronyism by the administration of Mr. Gray, a Democrat. The committee has yet to hear from Sulaimon Brown, a 2010 mayoral candidate who alleges he was given cash and promised a job last year during the campaign. His accusations have led to a criminal probe by the FBI and U.S. attorney. Mr. Brown has vowed not to cooperate with the council probe.

D.C. COUNCIL MEMBER JACK EVANS SAYS the council should scrap seven of the 13 tax and fee initiatives proposed in Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s spending plan for fiscal 2012, The Washington Times reports. Mr. Evans, Ward 2 Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, said an unrealized revenue bump this June should cover the $90 million in expected revenue from raising the income tax on people making more than $200,000 a year, keeping a 6 percent sales tax that expands to live theater, decoupling from federal tax cuts, doubling the Circulator bus fare from $1 to $2, raising the garage tax from 12 percent to 18 percent, adjusting withholding and establishing combined reporting.

VIRGINIANS CLAIMING UNEMPLOYMENT for 18 months or longer had their benefits terminated this week, though they had expected to receive them for another three months. For the first time since 2009, unemployment in Virginia remained below 6.5 percent for three consecutive months, triggering the end of a 13-week Extended Benefits Program funded by the federal government. About 5,700 residents — less than 7 percent of the 82,500 Virginians who received unemployment checks this month — will be affected, according to The Washington Times.

DEFENSE CUTS ARE RESULTING IN LAYOFFS in Virginia and elsewhere in the region. Nearly 1,000 workers at three of the area’s major defense contractors have lost their jobs so far this year, with 112 General Dynamics Corp. employees in Woodbridge among the region’s latest victims of the five-year, $150 billion budget cut announced by Congress in January, according to the Washington Examiner. The regional economy was spared the brunt of the recession because many employees had federal jobs not subject to layoffs.

MARYLAND GOV. MARTIN O’MALLEY finds himself at potential odds this week with two of his biggest supporters — fellow Democrats and environmental groups — over a bill that would put waste-to-energy plants in the same renewable-energy class as solar and wind plants. Members of both groups have asked the two-term governor, who long has given vocal support to environmental issues, to veto the legislation Thursday at his final scheduled bill-signing ceremony, according to The Washington Times.

THE DRIVER WHO CRASHED HIS CAR IN OLNEY over the weekend, then fled the scene with three friends fatally injured inside the vehicle, attended two parties and had been drinking that night, prosecutors said Monday at a bond hearing. The driver, Kevin B. Coffay, 20, of Rockville is being held on $500,000 bond and faces five charges related to the accident and his failure to remain at the scene. Mr. Coffay had “a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from his person” when police found him three hours after the crash early Sunday morning, according to charging documents, The Washington Times reports.

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